When I was in middle school there was a question on a standardized test about the water table. I had never heard that term before and was completely confused, having no clue what it meant. That moment sparked a natural curiosity in me about groundwater and prompted me to learn more. When I took a hydrogeology course at Michigan Tech during undergrad, taught by my now co-advisor, I knew that this was the field I wanted to go into. Not only did I find it interesting from a scientific viewpoint, but also working in this field allows me the opportunity to work on projects that positively impact people and the environment.
I eventually returned to Michigan Tech in Fall 2018 to pursue a PhD in Environmental Engineering. My research focuses on the process of groundwater inundation (flooding) driven by sea level rise on small islands. As sea level rises, the water table also rises and can flood low lying areas. This flooding exposes what was once groundwater to evaporation, leading to an accelerated loss of freshwater. My work uses numerical modeling to better understand groundwater inundation and explore the relationship between hydrogeologic features, fresh groundwater, and lake salinity on small islands.
I am truly grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for awarding me with this fellowship. I would also like to thank my co-advisors, Alex Mayer and Dave Watkins, and my committee for all of their guidance and support through my pursuit of this degree.